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Article posted  by: White Nation correspondent Tennessee USA 12 August   2018





IT really is a strange world with strange people we live in. AND to top it off is it getting mighty freaky  with the wave of suicide fanatics that recently suddenly decided ramming a plane into the ground is the perfect way to splat oneself  out of this world with a bang (and sometimes with  all the unwilling and unsuspected passengers and staff) into oblivion.

A man who stole an empty passenger plane from Seattle airport and then crashed it was an airline worker with full credentials, authorities say. The 29-year-old had worked for Horizon Air for more than three years, towing and tidying aircraft and loading bags. The man, named by US media as Richard Russell, took off late on Friday, forcing the airport to close while two fighter jets gave chase. After making “incredible manoeuvres”, he crashed the plane and was killed. The flight lasted 90 minutes and the crash site is on Ketron Island, a sparsely populated area in Puget Sound.

“At this time, we believe he was the only one in the aircraft but of course, we haven’t confirmed that at the crash site,” said Jay Tabb, chief of the FBI’s Seattle division. Transcripts of his conversation with air traffic control reveal a man who appears surprised about his feat, who is unclear as to the full operations of the plane, who has no intention to hurt anyone and who ultimately apologizes to his loved ones, saying he is “just a broken guy”.

Undated "selfie" picture available on social media on August 11, 2018 shows Richard B Russell, a ground service agent at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

RICHARD RUSSEL worked as a ground-service agent for Horizon Air

The airline worker, whose nickname was Beebo, has not yet been formally named as the pilot of the plane but he has been identified as such by his family and by US media. In a statement, his family said they were “stunned and heartbroken”. “It may seem difficult for those watching at home to believe, but Beebo was a warm, compassionate man,” the statement said. “He was a faithful husband, a loving son and a good friend.” According to an online blog, Mr Russell lived in Sumner, Washington. He was born in Key West, Florida, and moved to Wasilla, Alaska, when he was seven years old.

Media captionThe family of Richard Russell released a statement

His profile tells of how he met his wife in Oregon in 2010 and says they ran a bakery together for three years. He also writes about his job with Horizon Airlines, saying he is “able to fly to Alaska at my leisure”. “In this season of life we enjoy exploring as much as possible, whether its a day (or so) trip to one of Alaska Airline’s destinations, or visiting a new area of Washington,” the blog post, apparently written two years ago, says. A former airline colleague of Mr Russell described him as a “quiet guy”. “He was well liked by the other workers,” Rick Christenson told The Seattle Times. “I feel really bad for Richard and for his family. I hope they can make it through this.”

What are the latest developments?

Airline and airport officials gave a press briefing on Saturday morning in Seattle.

Media caption Brad Tilden (L), the CEO of Alaska Air Group speaks during a news briefing

Mike Ehl, director of aviation operations at the airport, said the man “had access legitimately” to the plane and that “no security violations were committed”. Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden said he had been “background checked”. “He worked his shift yesterday and we believe he was in uniform,” he added. Mr Tilden said planes do not have door or ignition keys, and that other airport security measures keep them safe.

Gary Beck, CEO of Horizon Air, said that “to our knowledge, he didn’t have a pilot’s licence” and that he had no idea how the man had gained the skills to fly such a “complex machine”. FBI spokeswoman Ayn S Dietrich-Williams said agents were working with the transportation safety board and other groups to process the scene of the crash on Ketron Island. “We are going to be thorough, which means taking the time needed to scour the area, delve into the background of the individual believed responsible, and review every aspect of this incident,” she told reporters.

What happened exactly?

The 76-seat, twin-engine turboprop Bombardier Q400, belonging to Horizon Air, took off from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport at 19:32 local time (02:32 GMT). Officials say the man used a push back tractor to first manoeuvre the plane 180 degrees from a maintenance location into the correct position for take-off.

A still taken from a video showing the plane above the water
Image caption The plane flew very low to the water (Image AFP)

After take-off he performed at least one dramatic roll, pulling the aircraft up just metres from the water before gaining altitude again. The North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad) issued a statement saying that two F15 fighter jets were launched from Portland to intercept. A number of videos showed them following the passenger plane, which was flying in an erratic manner. Norad said the F15s were “working to redirect the aircraft out over the Pacific Ocean when it crashed on the southern tip of Ketron island”, about 30 miles (48km) south of the airport. “Norad fighters did not fire upon the aircraft,” it said.

White space

Officials say they lost contact with the plane at 20:47 local time, more than an hour after it left the airport.

What did the pilot say to air traffic control?

Richard Russell’s messages vary from options for landing, to apologies for what he is doing to the often bizarre. The controllers suggest he needs some help flying the plane, to which he replies:

  • “Nah, I mean, I don’t need that much help; I’ve played some video games before.”

But he also shows a limited knowledge of operations, acknowledging that the amount of fuel used on take-off was quite a lot more than he expected and that some instructions to him were “mumbo jumbo”.

Advised that he try to land at the US Air Force base at McChord Field, he says:

  • “Aw man, those guys would rough me up if I tried landing there… Oh, they’ve probably got anti-aircraft.”

The controller asks for a left turn, receiving the reply:

  • “This is probably jail time for life, huh? Well I hope it would be for a guy like me.”

Among the more odd exchanges, Mr Russell discusses:

  • The co-ordinates for an orca carrying her dead calf on her back which featured in the news last week
  • Looking at the view and possibly going to look at the Olympic Mountains in Washington state
  • Whether or not Alaska Airlines would give him a job after a successful landing

However, there are also indications that Mr Russell might not have been expecting to land safely. He talks of doing a barrel roll before landing and then “calling it a night”.

Flames burn in the dark in a forest
Image caption Footage shows a fire burning in the spot where the plane went down

When asked to land he says: “I don’t know, man. I don’t want to. I was kind of hoping that was going to be it, you know.” He also says: “I’ve got a lot of people that care about me. It’s going to disappoint them to hear that I did this. “I would like to apologize to each and every one of them. Just a broken guy, got a few screws loose, I guess. Never really knew it, until now.”

What did eyewitnesses see?

Ben Schaechter was on a plane which was apparently taxiing down the runway as the stolen plane took off. Okay this insane,” he tweeted. “A pilot on the plane in front of us just went rogue and took off on an empty plane bypassing orders from the tower. The tower ordered a full stop and they’re trying to communicate with that pilot. Whaaaaaat!” Eyewitness John Waldron told CNN he watched the plane do “a complete loop”, before it went “pretty much straight up. And kind of at an angle. And almost stalled the aircraft”. “Somehow he got it levelled back off,” he told the broadcaster. “And then made his way down toward the island.”

Leah Morse, who filmed the plane flying overhead, told Reuters she felt in her “gut something was wrong” after spotting it. Ms Morse’s mother, who lives closer to the area where the plane went down, said her whole house shook. “We saw the jets circle back after and she texted that there was no plane,” she added. The wave of pilots committing suicide by diving planes into the ground lately is horrifying- sometimes for the passengers and crew aboard as well. Recent cases includes :

1) Namibia, 29 November 2013, 33 died

The aeroplane was at cruise flight level when the co-pilot left the cockpit to go to the toilet, leaving the captain alone in the cockpit. “On three occasions,” the report says, “different altitudes were selected to order a descent to the ground with autopilot.” The Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) showed several aural warnings, as well as “noises of repeated knocking and calls, corresponding to attempts to get into in the cockpit”.

2) North Atlantic Ocean, 31 October 1999, 217 died

The cruising aircraft – flying from New York City to Egypt – had a flight crew comprising a captain, a duty co-pilot and a relief co-pilot. When the plane was crossing the ocean the duty co-pilot left the cockpit, followed eight minutes later by the captain. The relief co-pilot then disengaged the auto-pilot – and “nose-down inputs were recorded on the Flight Deck Recorder (FDR)”. The airplane then rapidly descended after its engines were shut down. The captain returned to the cockpit and tried to take back control of the airplane, repeatedly asking the co-pilot for help “but [he] continued to command the elevator to pitch nose down”. The airplane eventually “collided with the surface of the ocean”, the report says. “The reasons that led the co-pilot to take these actions could not be determined.”

3) Botswana, 11 January 1999, one died

The pilot, the only person on board, “deliberately flew the aeroplane into the ground by crashing at Gaborone airport”. His licence had been revoked.

4) Indonesia, 19 December 1997, 104 died

While the aircraft was cruising at 10,000m (35,000ft) the flight recorders stopped recording “one after the other”. The airplane suddenly started to come down. No Mayday message was transmitted before or during the descent. The aircraft crashed into a river. “The safety investigation was not able to identify any technical problem that would make it possible to explain the accident,” the report says.

5) Morocco, 21 August 1994, 44 died

The captain disengaged the autopilot and deliberately directed the aircraft towards the ground. “The co-pilot was in the cockpit but was not able to counter the captain’s actions.”

6) Japan, 9 February 1982, 24 died

After disengaging the autopilot on the final approach at a height of 49m (164ft), the pilot pushed the control column forward and set the thrust levers on idle. He then moved the thrust levers of engines two and three to the reverse idle position. As the aircraft descended, the co-pilot tried to pull on the control column, but he was unable to raise the nose of the plane because the captain “was pushing forward on the control column with both hands”. The aircraft crashed into the sea 510m short of the runway. An investigation showed that the actions of the pilot, who was among those who survived the crash, resulted from schizophrenia.

7. Malaysia  Flight MH 370 , 239 passengers died

Leading air safety experts have concluded that the captain of flight MH370 deliberately crashed the plane. They include the man who spent two years heading the search, who now says Captain Zaharie Amad Shah carefully planned a murder-suicide mission. The Malaysia Airlines jet was on a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on 8 March 2014 with 239 people on board when it disappeared. Analysis of satellite data indicates it ran out of fuel and crashed in the Indian Ocean west of Australia, thousands of miles from its intended destination.

8. Turkey- single pilot suicide

Investigators are baffled why the body of Mehmet Ünal, the pilot of a small plane that crashed in southeastern Turkey on Wednesday, was found some 25 kilometers away from the crash site. Media reports said security forces were looking into the possibility that 40-year-old Ünal jumped the plane without a parachute before the crash. Ünal was in training to be a pilot at the aviation academy of Gaziantep University in southern Turkey and had few flight hours left to complete to receive his flight certificate when the crash took place in the southeastern town of Besni.

9. Seattle USA

Ground worker  Richard Russell stole passenger airplane from Horizon Airlines– commit suicide by plunging the plane into the ground  for no appearant reason.